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Los Angeles: Creating the Vision

Evening Lecture/Seminar

Wednesday, October 6, 2021 - 7:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. ET
Code: 1NV079
This program is part of our
Smithsonian Associates Streaming series.
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Downtown Los Angeles

Please Note: This program has a rescheduled date (originally August 26, 2021).

From the last years of the 19th century throughout much of the following one, alluring images of endless sunshine, pristine beaches, and snow-capped mountains filled magazine stories and tourist pamphlets promoting Los Angeles and Southern California. But LA’s civic boosters wanted to be seen as much more. 

Discover how Los Angeles evolved from a destination for health seekers and winter vacations targeting the middle class from the Midwest and East to become a dynamic center of industry and the leading port of the Western United States. Building on the natural advantage of climate, the city’s leaders overcame the lack of an abundant water supply by reaching out hundreds of miles to secure water and the lack of a natural harbor by creating a great harbor where only mud flats had existed. By the end of the 1920s, the city became a center for oil production and for the manufacturing of automobiles, tires, furniture, aircraft, and the leader in motion picture production.

In a richly illustrated program, Bill Keene covers the period from the city’s founding in 1781 to 1930 as he draws on booster literature, magazine articles, and scholarly and informal histories to examine how LA’s vision of itself became a reality.

Patron Information

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